Act now! Quantities limited!

Last April, I blogged about the panel discussions I attended at the L.A. Times Festival of books. I liked a couple of sessions so much that I bought the DVD recordings. One that might be interesting to some of you is “Young Adult Fiction: Rites of Initiation.” I also have a very entertaining recording of Mitch Albom interviewing Frank McCourt. I’m happy to mail either one to you if you will, in turn, pass it on when you’re finished and/or make copies for other people who might also want to see them. First come, first served; I only have one copy of each.

(In cleaning up my office, I’m discovering all sorts of junk buried treasures! I seriously need to rent a dumpster hold a garage sale.) 

UPDATE: [info]artistq is the lucky first-round winner. She’s agreed, however, to pass them along to you when she’s finished. Interested? Send her an email at the address she’s provided in the comments.

Left to Right: John Green, Per Nilsson, Andreas Steinhöfel, and Markus Zusak

On writing:

Per “made up a lie that has become the truth” about his roots as a writer. He said he started writing so he could tell his kids who he was as a 12-year-old –- how he’d spent his time “walking aimlessly while daydreaming about being a hero, an idol, a secret agent.”  As well, he wanted his son to know how he coped when he “collided with the real world,” when metaphorical “lampposts sprang up out of nowhere.”
Andreas wrote three chapters of a novel at age 16. He quickly figured out that it was “terrible,” but “that realization proved I could be a writer, that I had a keen editorial eye.”
John says “I’m good at two things: telling lies and sitting. And that’s what a writer does.” John also said that 
*Looking for Alaska, in its Dutch translation, is called The Great Perhaps. That title wouldn’t work here, John says, because “Americans are not in the business of abstraction.” 
*Defining YA is dangerous business. It’s really a matter of where publishers think books will sell. Unfortunately, sometimes publishers underestimate kids. They’re not fools. They’re not going to take any rubbish.” 
*”It’s a false premise that every idiot can write for an undeveloped person. Writers need to have a good story.” 
*“YA novels grapple with important issues. They’re different from books written for adults in that they’re usually not layered in irony; [instead], they’re written in a simple, unadorned, serious, and thoughtful way.” 
Markus said, “The books I love transcend categories. That’s what I’m striving for.” He also said that “People never come up and say “I love your junior/fantasy/crossover young adult book. I don’t care what they call it; I just hope they compliment me on the story.”

On writing about death:
Per: “When you’re 16, you think about things, and you carry your 16-year-old the rest of your life. If you think about your own life, you can’t avoid thinking about death.”
Andreas: “It’s a great way to get rid of characters you don’t need any more. Every death means there’s a new beginning in store.”
John: “It’s extraordinarily likely that everyone in this room will die. Historically, it doesn’t look good for us. At 16, I was aware of mortality and frailty of this state we’re in. In the face of death, we can find and sustain hope.”
Marcus: “There’s no bigger story than death, so it’s natural that we end up there as writers sometimes.”
The challenge of plotting and character development:
Andreas: “I love chapter headings almost as much as John loves famous last words. I make long lists of chapter headings until I feel I’m ready to write.”
Per: Writing about contemporary teens “isn’t difficult” because “it’s about having an active imagination. I’m not writing about American Idol; I’m writing about feelings. Characters and situations come out of an active imagination.”
John: “My favorite part of writing is having written. When characters are alive for me, there’s nothing like it. I keep trying to get back to that feeling.”

Site Meter


  1. Oh oh! What wonderful excerpts! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m looking for buried treasure, too! No luck yet on cleaning—I cannot stay home long enough. ARGH. Hope to get something done this week. Hope you’re doing well. XO Candie

      • Things are going to STAY wild for awhile, but in a good way, I’m hoping, with LOTS of work. I need to work! Lots of tuition to pay for the kids, so I’m all about the work right now. And I know it would be easier if I could shovel out this office, but I’m kind of stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place right now, you know? I may have to pay someone, ha! Good to read your blog again too! XO Candie

  2. Per Nilsson is a freaking genius. His novel, You & You & You, (English translation published by Frontstreet), is one the most technically-sound pieces of fiction I’ve read in years.

    • I had the sense, when he was speaking, that he was thinking about/experiencing a different world than the rest of us. I was fascinated by his demeanor and spoken thoughts!

      Wondering…would you please explain what you mean by “technically sound”? I’m not asking for an essay response, but since I’m not a fiction writer like you, I’d love to understand the term from your perspective. 🙂

      • No essay? Wah!

        This is from memory, and the text is at work, so it may be a little sketchy. The novel You & You & You is written with three narrators. One of them is clearly ADD, and the characters sections are written from a “dreamy” POV. Those sections could’ve been excruciating to read, but PN draws you in, letting you see the world in this kid’s head. He never breaks the POV, and his use of indirect characterization with this unreliable narrator is marvelous.

        With all three POV characters, the character diction is pitch perfect. He also structures his scenes so that the reader is drawn in quickly, yet plot remains secondary to character.

  3. Per Nilsson is a freaking genius. His novel, You & You & You, (English translation published by Frontstreet), is one the most technically-sound pieces of fiction I’ve read in years.

  4. Wow, Melodye — thanks for sharing this 🙂

    In other news, I’m actually nearing the end…if I can keep up this rhythm, you might be getting the ‘I’m finished’ e-mail in February 😉

    • Sure thing! I hope you found something interesting in the mix.

      I’m really getting excited. Don’t feel you need to rush, though, especially since I’m going to be doing a bit of travel this week and next. Whenever and wherever your rhythm takes you, I’m very much looking forward to receiving (using!!) the finished product. 🙂

  5. Hi M! Thanks for the quotes…so interesting. Sounds like you’re having more fun with your office than I am. So far the “best” thing I found was some files with cat puke on ’em. Is it “clean your office” season or something? 🙂

    • Oh, I really love your new icon; it suits you. 🙂

      I am definitely *not* having fun plowing through and purging paperwork (heck, that little bit of alliteration is the closest I’ve come to enjoying the subject, heh). However, I am finding, um, interesting things, some useful and some pure junk. No cat puke, though, lol. I see that Meg’s cleaning her office, too. We should totally form a support group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *